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An Emerging Paradigm for Transformative Collaboration in Fragile Settings

The development community is currently between paradigms for engaging in fragile states. The old, transactional paradigm is increasingly seen as obsolete. Yet the new paradigm of transformative collaboration is only emerging. The Atelier for Transformative Collaboration in Fragile Settings (AtCo) aims to usher in the new paradigm that overcomes transactional relationships between international actors, governments and citizens through the introduction of a new change management approach to development in the hardest places. AtCo will articulate, shape and accelerate this emerging paradigm along five dimensions: by introducing new country platforms, adaptive and scaling processes as well as relational, human-centered norms for transformational collaboration in ways that help fragile settings move from fragility to resilience.

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Management & Collaboration

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The Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, Kenya


Busara, the home of AtCo‘s secretariat, is a leading research and advisory organisation that advances and applies behavioral science in the Global South. Busara’s aim is to understand human behaviors and design solutions to scale products, programs and policies. In AtCo, Busara leads on behavior change in institutions and local-level fieldwork, using action and experimental research to understand the intersection between fragility and human behavior.


Jonathan Papoulidis


As a highly visible spokesperson for the approach and findings of the initiative, Jonathan Papoulidis provides thought leadership and pools inter-disciplinary expertise from across AtCo’s partners and wider networks to support more effective responses from fragility to resilience. He brings to AtCo over two decades of experience in Africa, Asia, and Headquarters, including senior UN roles. He is the aid community’s leading voice on the design and implementation of country platforms and is working on the frontiers of redefining resilience, adaptive management and scaling methods in fragile states.


Mareike Schomerus Director

Dr Mareike Schomerus heads the network’s research and analytical contribution to strengthen the empirical underpinnings of the emerging paradigm. As VP at Busara, she seeks to infuse political engagements at all levels with behavioral knowledge and to use behavioural science to better understand the complex experiences of people living in fragile situations. As the Research Director at ODI’s Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC), she led in articulating the critique of the current paradigm.

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